Check out this new Laser Cannon on a US Navy Destroyer! (photos)

Star Trek is here!

he U.S. Navy apparently has installed a new laser cannon on one of its destroyers. The installation could represent a big step forward for the U.S. fleet as it scrambles to deploy defenses against Chinese and Russian anti-ship missiles.

A source provided to Tyler Rogoway, editor of The War Zone, a photo of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Dewey at the naval base in San Diego. In the photo, Dewey appears to sport a new laser weapon on its forward deck.

The Navy is developing several directed-energy weapons for shipboard use. It’s unclear exactly which laser the destroyer carries. Rogoway engaged in some educated guesswork. “By our analysis, the most likely answer to what we are seeing on Dewey is the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy system, which was set to be installed on a Navy destroyer by the end of this year.”

ODIN is a lower power laser system that will be used to blind enemy electro-optical and infrared sensor systems by shining a modulated “dazzler” laser beam at them in a similar manner as to how directed infrared countermeasure systems work to defend aircraft from heat-seeking missiles. ODIN will be capable of countering ship and boat-based systems, those used by aircraft and drones, and even those used by anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles.

ODIN could complement the existing active and passive self-defense suites on the Navy’s major warships. Current defenses include SM-6, SM-3, SM-2, Evolved Sea Sparrow and Rolling Airframe Missile surface-to-air missiles, Phalanx radar-guided guns, Nulka decoys and the SLQ-32 and SLQ-59 radar-jammers.

Many of the passive defenses are designed to disrupt an anti-ship missile’s radar guidance. But more and more Chinese and Russian missiles also feature infrared guidance against which the radar-countermeasures are useless.

Read more: national interest